Complicated transmission issues.

Complicated transmission issues.

Postby kaugustine [OP] » April 7th 2021, 4:32pm

It is a long story so I will start at the beginning.

This past summer I was on a camping trip with the van. While going up a dirt mountain road the van seemed to be losing power and would not go up hills over 5 mph with the gas all the way to the floor. I was able to limp the van home but it would not go over 30 mph while going up and over mountain passes. While driving in town while waiting for an appointment at the mechanic it was shifting weird and had a slight shudder around 20 mph. Finally got it in to the mechanic and he said the transmission was definitely bad and it would have to be replaced. Had it towed to a transmission shop and they told me they found nothing wrong mechanically and it was most likely a computer problem (they don't work on that).Had it towed over to the dealership and they call me a few days later saying the van is driving fine. I say that it is definitely not and to go test it again. They call me back and say again that it is driving fine. I couldn't believe it so I went down to go drive it and show them. I get there and the van is actually driving fine. I take it home and drive around town for the next month or so with no issues. Then I went on a 4700 mile road trip across the country and it drove fine the whole time. Still have no clue what happened and the van drove well until January 2021.

Fast forward to January and there has been no issue. I spun out on some black ice at 50mph and ended up doing a full 360 spin into the ditch. I tried to put it in 4 Lo and back out (van is 4x4 converted). I was unsuccessful and had to be dragged out. On the rest of my drive home the van was shifting weird and sounded like it was revving to high RPMs. The next morning when I went to back out of my driveway the van would not go in reverse. Pushed it out and found the van to be revving to high RPMs and not shifting into the next gear until I let my foot off the gas then it would drop into the next gear. So again I have it towed down to the transmission shop. They call me after a day or so and say they are reluctant to do the rebuild because they think it could still be a computer problem. So once again I have it taken over to the dealership. The dealership is again saying that they are not finding anything wrong with the computer or electronics. So I call back to the transmission shop to have them rebuild the transmission and they say they are still reluctant to do it because it could be an intermittent problem with the computers. They are saying that if it is a computer issue as well as rebuilding the transmission it could be around 5,000$. A 2000 astro is obviously not worth that much but it is lifted and converted to 4x4. I just finished my 4 season build and I would hate to give up on it now especially because I cant sell it for much of anything.

I guess what I am asking is should I go forward with a transmission rebuild when there is no problems found with the computers but it could be an intermittent issue? Any thoughts and experiences are appreciated,
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Re: Complicated transmission issues.

Postby sixsix » April 7th 2021, 7:46pm

Definitely is a Dealership issue for you. Bummer
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Re: Complicated transmission issues.

Postby AstroWill » April 7th 2021, 8:20pm

Welcome to the site!

Not being able to go over hills at more than 5mph is crazy. Something has to be pretty majorly wrong there.

Intermittent problems can be a huge PITA. I would tend to agree with the transmission shop though, mechanical issues with a transmission usually aren't intermittent.

If I were in your situation, I would grab a cheap OBD2 bluetooth reader that can do live data on a phone/tablet. I have one linked in my signature. No need to spend a lot, $20-30 for the reader and $0.00 - $15 for the software side of things.

Revving really high sounds like it was possibly still in low gear, are you sure that the transfer case is out of low gear? Did you check the wiring/connector for the 4wd switch and the added wiring at the PCM? What transfer case did you install, electronic or manual shift?

If you don't mind saying where you are located, someone might be near by that can give you a hand or some ideas.

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Re: Complicated transmission issues.

Postby Mmusicman » April 7th 2021, 8:42pm

My 2000 transmission developed an intermittent shifting issue (soon after new transmission rebuild)
Sometimes it would have issues from standing start, sometimes while cruising on the highway.

My problem turned out to be a bad RANGE SELECTOR SWITCH on the side of the trans at the linkage.
Actually, it turned out the switches wiring harness was brittle and shorting out.
This switch tells your computer what gear you are in.
New switch and harness and it now shifts perfectly!

I can't say this would be your trouble.. but maybe something to look at.
Turns out my trans was fine.

There are solenoids in the transmission valve body that can intermittently stick too.
I've also had this happen, and "Trans Tune" fixed it for me.


When ever you find your trouble.. please let us know!
Good luck
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Re: Complicated transmission issues.

Postby kaugustine [OP] » April 8th 2021, 9:36pm

Thanks AstroWill and others for the ideas!

So the transmission is for sure toasted now ( not an intermittent issue). It wont go in reverse at all or shift right. What I meant was that what caused the failure was an intermittent computer issue that isn't popping up all the time so therefore cant be diagnosed when i bring it to the dealership. This is why the transmission shop is reluctant to rebuild.

As for the transfer case it is not stuck in 4lo and it is a manual shifting setup.

I am located in Silverthorne, CO if anyone with more experience and knowledge would like to lend a hand.
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